Footbo’s Guillem Balague backs an “outsider” to break into the Big Four

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The first weekend is down, and there are another 37 rounds to go in the English Premier League season.

The weekend had a few genuine surprises and a few, which were – with hindsight – not really surprises at all. And May 2009 will be a time for looking back at the EPL previews given by those “football know-it-alls” with regards to their predictions for the season.

On, well-known analysts Guillem Balague, Rafi Honigstein and Gabriele Marcotti discussed the matter in a “roundtable” forum. According to the three, who contribute regularly on the international social network for football fans, the top four will be a variation of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal, with Guillem Balague going as far to suggest that Tottenham will pip Arsenal for further spot. So how did things kick-off for the Premier League?

Arsenal were unconvincing but managed to scrape a win against WBA. The result would have been an upset had it gone any other way. Bolton opened their account to the season nicely with a 3-1 victory against Stoke, but will have to prove they can meet the challenge in the weeks to come when playing better opposition.

Everton’s inability to acquire new signings for the team showed through as they couldn’t prevent a Blackburn side (playing with the energy provided by a new manager) from coming from 2-1 down to take 3 points following a last minute winner to win 2-3. And surely, everyone’s talking point – Tottenham – tipped for big things, yet again, but once more a disappointing start to a season full of so much promise following some high-profile signings.

Liverpool managed to scrape a win when that “El Nino” came to the rescue with a long range shot against Sunderland, and Dean Ashton’s double ensured that West Ham got off to a solid start against Wigan. Perhaps the shock of the day was Hull’s defeat of Fulham. One of the main relegation candidates started their premiership campaign in style and showed that maybe they have a few tricks up their sleeves.

With Chelsea and Manchester United still to play today, one thing’s for sure, this season will be an exciting one and many a football fan in England is hoping that as Guillem hinted, an “outside” club will crack the traditional top 4. Only time will tell if Guillem, Rafi and Gabriele were right about their predictions for the Bundesliga season too.